Tag: book reviews

The Dreaded One Star Review

One star reviews. Nobody likes them, least of all an author. When someone – usually a stranger – expresses their less than enthusiastic opinion about something I’ve written, it hurts. I’m not going to lie and pretend that it doesn’t. The good news is, experts say a few less than stellar reviews actually add credibility to one’s author platform, since nobody can appeal to everyone.

I get it when a person just doesn’t like a book. There can be many reasons for this. However, the ones that I find most irritating are those that say something like, “This is just too religious for me.” Duh! Did you read the blurb? Did it mention that this is a work of ‘Christian fiction‘? What about the keywords and tags? If the word faith, Christian, or inspirational is in there, chances are it will have those elements.

Somewhat more problematic, however, are those that are expecting a squeaky clean Christian read and find that my work may be a bit edgier than they had anticipated. A case in point is my NEIGHBOURS Series.  ‘A Contemporary Christian Romance’ is right there in the subtitle, but several readers found it was not Christian enough for their liking.

I have since added a ‘warning’ label to the product description and I’ve made sure to include it on all future descriptions, especially as the sequel to NEIGHBOURS – KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURHOOD – is currently being released. (Thanks to Beta reader, Violet, for making this suggestion.) Here it is:

NOTE TO READERS: Although this series is categorized as ‘Christian fiction’  and has a strong redemptive message toward the end, there may be events that some Christians find troubling, such as the use of alcohol and references to sexual activity, although this always takes place ‘off camera’.

In the end, I must content myself with the fact that many readers have given me positive feedback about the series, and even asked (repeatedly!) for the sequel. Unfortunately, not all of these readers like leaving reviews on Amazon.com or goodreads.com – the too most sought after places for reviews. Perhaps they don’t understand the huge impact that reviews actually have on a book’s sales. (Even though I’ve mentioned it a time or two!)

Here is my final appeal to any readers out there. If you read a book and like it, take a few minutes to leave a review. It means A LOT – probably more than you realize.

Having said that, if you’ve read any of MY books and liked them – please leave a review. ( I said please!) I would especially appreciate a few more positive reviews to balance the negative ones on the first volume of NEIGHBOURS. Things like ‘This is too short” or “It ended too abruptly. It needs a sequel” kind of missed the point…   (It’s a novella and it’s supposed to end abruptly like a TV episode so that readers come back for the next part.) I could use a few more ‘thumbs up’ to boost its creds. *smile*

New In the Neighbourhood Volume 1
Neighbours Series 1 Complete


Also, don’t forget that the sequel KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS is currently being released in instalments! Here is the line up:

Vol 1 – Neighbourhood Tangle – JED

Vol 2 – Neighbourhood Watch – BO

Vol 3 – Neighbourhood Rebel – REBA

Vol 4 – Neighbourhood Upstart – PIP

Vol 5 – Neighbourhood Freedom – WILL

Vol 6 – Neighbourhood Cupid – ZEB



Two Million Dollar Reviews

I had some time to do some professional reading while on a plane trip recently. Here are two books from a series that I highly recommend for serious writers. (Part of the Million Dollar Writing Series)

Review of Million Dollar Productivity by Kevin J. Anderson

In a very no nonsense style, Kevin J. Anderson reveals the secrets to being a prolific author. As a New York Times best selling author who has written over 125 books, he might just know a thing or two about the topic. In fact, his methodology isn’t really very mystical. It all boils down to hard work and no excuses – period. He shares his typical writing schedule and explains eleven specific tips to help writers make the most of their time. Most of what he shares is just common sense, although his use of a recording device to record the first draft while hiking sounded intriguing. It is a fairly short book – it took me about an hour to read it through, so I won’t go into more detail here. I did find it very motivational, although his style is far from a fluffy “Rah-rah you can do it,” type of motivation. His tone is more, “Quit being so lazy and just do it!” which is probably more useful and more effective. Some people might feel overwhelmed with his apparent obsession with squeezing writing into every second of his life, but he is unapologetic. If writing is your job, then start acting like it! I recommend this book to any author who feels like they aren’t making progress or to those who are struggling to find the time to write.

Review of Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland 

If you’re looking for simple solutions in the form of templates or systems, this isn’t the book for you. I might even go so far as to say this isn’t a book for newbies or hobby writers. When you’re ready to move past milk and want to sink your teeth into some steak, then read this book. There is a lot of psychology about why people read (or want to be entertained – he uses a lot of movie references as well) and he delves into the deeper emotional responses that readers experience during various phases of a novel. It’s not all philosophy – there are lots of very practical and specific examples of ways to make one’s writing better, but most require more than a skim over. This is ‘strong meat’, to put it into biblical perspective, which needs to be chewed on for a while. It is not an easy ‘do this and you will be successful’ type of book. However, I highly recommend it as a valuable resource for serious writers. By the way, Farland isn’t just some fly by night ‘expert’. He’s coached the likes of Stephanie Meyers, Brandon Mull and James Dashner as well as countless big time Hollywood screenwriters.


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